After a semi-farewell and long holiday break, Noob returns! Twitter: @SoccernoobUSA
The plan remains to feature exclusive Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage here. Soon! I’m still wintering on Sodor, putting things together, even as the season is half-finished. To get a feel, check out this site’s Page for last summer’s inaugural Isle of Sodor FA Cup.
But I’ve missed doing the near-daily Tracks, previewing the most important matches from the U.S., all CONCACAF, Premier League, continental Europe, and the world!
So for now, I’m bringing back Relegation Monday and Globetrotting Friday – the most unique content I provided. So enjoy! Today, several matches feature teams about to be Relegated, from “important” leagues to those far-flung. Then there’s a few matches of happier import. Dig in.
1. Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Club Bilbao – Spain: La Liga
- UEFA League Rank: #1
- Table positions: #14, #18 (of 20)
- Clubs relegated: 3
- Time of season: middle
Noob’s return to at least Tracking on “Relegation Mondays” starts with a realistic upset chance! Athletic have only lost one of their last six matches. I’m not saying they’re storming the league and going to make a move on a midtable position, but only allowing one goal in their last four matches is a big step forward.
Celta Vigo, at home, should be favored. Their goal differential even indicates they may be worthy of a higher table slot. But they’ve not scored in two matches. Noob senses this is a bad matchup for them.
Fun Fact: Bilbao are The Lions. Their stadium was built near a church which was named for Saint Mammes, a Christian saint thrown to the lions. He pacified them.
So they named themselves after tamed animals? Never mind from before. You’re getting Relegated.
RESULT: Athletic 1-2 The Lions climb to 17th place, above the Drop Zone for now
B. Moreirense vs. Aves – Portugal Primeira Liga
- UEFA league rank: #7
- Table positions: #7, #17 (of 18)
- Clubs relegated: 3
- Time of season: middle
Aves have the worst defense in the league, and it’s not particularly close. That said, they’ve only allowed one goal in each of their last to matches, against excellent competition. They didn’t win either, though, and haven’t done so since late November.
Moreirense seem to be overcoming a dreadful start to their season when it comes to goal-scoring. They’ve won three of four matches running and scored multiple times in all of them.
RESULT: Moreirense 1-0
The Quest for Number B to displace worn out Number 2 in lists is back on!
Clearly, the people want their Number B.
3. Ermis Aradippou vs. Enosis Paralimni – Cyprus First Division
- UEFA League Rank: #18
- Table positions: last, second-to-last
- # of Clubs Relegated: 1
- Time of Season: middle
One of Noob’s first ever Twitter (@SoccernoobUSA) followers is a Cypriot mother of two First Division players. This league will always have a little piece of my heart. Thankfully for Mom, her boys play for far better clubs than these sad sacks!
Aradippou have earned points in just three matches all season so far. They won their last match, but that was in their FA Cup. Against a Second Division club that is considered a “refugee team”. That haven’t played in their home city since the Turkish Invasion of 1974. Aradippou haven’t beaten a league foe since November.
Paralimni have earned draws in their last two league matches, lead Aradippou by five points in the table. Road wins may be tough to come by, but Noob wouldn’t be able to call this in upset even so. Both teams are just so lousy.
RESULT: 0-0 That seems more than fitting
4. Mont Bleu vs. Muungano – DR Congo First Division
- CAF league rank: #3
- Table positions: #12, last place of 16
- Clubs Relegated: 3
- Time of season: uncertain
Last season, the Linafoot may only have been about 14 matches. This season, some clubs have already reached 15. The format also seems to have changed from three league divisions to one.
So what does Noob know? That Muungano have won just once and drawn not at all in their 11 outings. This is one of three teams that play far worse defense than everyone else. None of them look likely to climb out of the Drop Zone no matter when the season ends.
Mont Bleu are a bit better on both sides of the ball, though not nearly good enough threaten climbing to midtable.
5. Ndanda vs. Ruvu Shooting – Tanzania Premier
- CAF league rank: #24
- Table positions: #17, #16 (of 20)
- Clubs Relegated: 4
- Time of season: middle
Ndanda may be on the edge of daylight, but their goal differential is the worst in the league. If they had a strength, maybe they could climb. But they’re bottom-three in both O and D.
Still, a win today would move them above the Cutline (for the moment). Ruvu score a lot more, but sport the league’s worst defense for it. If Ndanda want to prove Noob wrong, this is a home must-win.
Fun Fact: Ndanda’s Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium has a capacity of 15,000.
RESULT: Ruvu 0-1
6. Muslim FC vs. Karachi Port Trust – Pakistan Premier
- AFC league rank: #46
- Table positions: #11, #13 (of either 14, 15 or 16)
- Clubs relegated: 2, 3 or 4
- Time of season: very late
The number of league teams is higher now than when it last seemed to have played, in 2014-15. Assuming they’re still playing a double round robin, this season is on the verge of finishing. It started with either 15 or 16 teams. One or two of them aren’t playing for financial reasons. Bottom line is, just 14 appear to be actually playing and two of those will be Relegated.
And so, welcome to the worst-ranked league in Asia! Hey, they’re playing. Love football? Want to see it develop, improve everywhere. Noob’s got your back, Pak.
KPT and one other team are vying to stay in the country’s top flite. Baloch Nushki are playing, but have long since been mathematically cooked. And if it weren’t for Baloch Nushki, KPT would have the worst defense in the league.
Muslim are not much higher, yet appear safe in their position. They play small-ball, neither scoring nor conceding many goals at all. KPT won’t get one on them today, and they will go down a league.
RESULT: Muslim 2-0
We hardly knew ye
7. Rayo Majadahonda vs. Las Palmas – Spain’s Segunda Division
- UEFA league rank: n/a – second-tier league
- Table positions: #19, #11 (of 22)
- Clubs relegated: 4
- Time of season: middle
Majadahonda are in a three-way tie for 18th through 20th in points in the table. But they’re one of the four worst in goal differential, simply must score more if they want to stay afloat. Try for at least a goal per game, fellas. It’ll work wonders.
Statistically, Las Palmas are perfectly average in every way. Yet strangely, they haven’t won a match since October, mostly achieving draws. High or low-scoring, doesn’t matter. They can’t seal the deal. Look for a 0-0 draw today, and contain your excitement, Noobites 😛
Fun Fact: This is the highest Majadahonda have ever been in the Spanish football pyramid, having just been promoted this year.
Non-Relegation Matches of Treeemendous Consequence!
OK, might’ve oversold that.
8. Lille vs. Sochaux – Coupe de France
The French FA Cup is in it’s Round of 64. This is the only match for the event today. Lille is the current #B team in Ligue 1, while Sochaux are barely above the Relegation Line in Ligue 2. The only reason this match might not be a blowout for the home side is that Noob’s read this FA Cup is considered by clubs even less important than other top European leagues’ clubs consider theirs, which is so-so at most.
Here’s the link for the event. Hopefully your technology translates it for you readily.
RESULT: Lille 1-0
9. Waterhouse vs. Cavalier – Jamaica Premier
- CONCACAF league rank: don’t think they do them; #B Caribbean maybe
- Table positions: #B, #3
- Stakes: top 6- league playoffs bracket, top 2 get byes
- more Stakes Top two will have option to play Caribbean Club Championship.
- Time of season: 2/3 through regular season
#1 Portmore and Waterhouse have the offense. Cavalier boasts the top D. Unfortunately for them, Waterhouse is almost as good in that regard. The home team today is probably the most talented in the league.
Even given the relative table positions, a Cavalier win should be considered an upset. But given that they were just promoted to top flite this season, they’re performing incredibly.
RESULT: Cavalier 0-1 So be it – upset! These two are now tied in the table on points. Cavalier is still in 3rd on GD.
10. UNDEBA (Banda Abou) vs. Scherpenheuvel – Curacao Sekshon Paga
- CONCACAF league rank: gotta think it wouldn’t be high
- Table positions: #3, #1
- Stakes: top six make the playoff subdivision
- more Stakes at least one club will have option to play in new second-tier 2020 Caribbean Club Shield
- Time of season: very early
Welcome to the former Netherlands Antilles! The top at some point the top six will be moved into their own Championship Subdivision. It’s unclear to me if at some point the top four from that will have their own bracketed playoff not. But the season is just a few matches in, so there’s all kinds of time to figure it out.
Scherpenheuvel are undefeated, outscoring opponents 12-1 to date. Banda Abou’s GD is 18-9. Can’t think their lack of defense will serve them well over a full season, but that 3+ goals per game average sure is shiny.
Be inspired to find or make some stoba, a traditional stew from these parts.
And be bold! Do the goat with the papaya.